It’s Monday and you find yourself trudging to the office. Last week was terrible. This week might not get better. Maybe you should just hand in your resignation letter today, you thought.
Everyone has probably had that thought at some points in their career. No matter how much you love your job, there are some days when you think the job is s*** and you don’t need that s*** in your life.
You look for other options, maybe get an offer, and then a counter-offer. And then perhaps you leave it after a month and start looking for better options.
Hold up, and rewind. Here are three questions:
- Did you really need a new job or was it just a terrible week?
- Should you have accepted that counter-offer?
- Should you include that one-month stint in your resume?
We asked all these important questions to Alexandra Lamb, co-founder of Lanterne Rouge, the company behind career management platform Boldly, who has more than 15 years of experience in the human resource field in Asia.
Everyone is talking about burnout. How do I know if I need a new job or if I’m just having a bad week at work?
Burnout is a function of prolonged distress—it’s more than stress, which we all feel from time to time, and can actually help us learn and break our boundaries. Don’t be afraid of a bit of stress—you can build your ability to manage it and thrive through it, like any muscle you’re training. Burnout symptoms will be noticeable in your body, and will accumulate over several weeks and months—you’ll see it in your sleep, weight, hair, stomach, skin and even in your dreams. You might feel mentally like you need to keep pushing for a deadline or outcome, but your body will eventually tell you when you’ve crossed the line. Try to avoid getting to this point by keeping an eye on the signals—are you thinking about your work constantly? Are you prioritising work above all other activities in your life? Are your friends and family worried about you? Are you exercising and eating healthy? If not, it’s time to think about your values, and the timeline you can sustain this pressure for. There are some decisions to be made if you’re truly at this point, and a career coach can help you walk through some options to back out of burnout.
You’ve been offered a new job. Should you accept a counter-offer at your old workplace?
It’s very rare that a counteroffer works out over the long term. In the short term, you might get the validation and recognition you wanted, and perhaps a pay bump, but ultimately the issues you were concerned about originally are probably still there. If your only reason for leaving your job is money, then raise this with your company. If they don’t agree to respond with an increase based on your performance, but then suddenly find the money when you resign, this is a bad sign. If you have other reasons, like boss relationship or company culture, these things are unlikely to really change. Leverage is important in any negotiation, so don’t hesitate to know your worth on the market and use this information with grace in your discussions with both sides. However, “playing the game” too much rarely works out (especially when you’re early in your career). Clean cuts are always best—move forward and keep your previous company as an advocate!
You left a job after a month. Can you not include it in your resume?
It’s very important that you include all factual information about your career history in your resume. If you have a one-month gap, a hiring manager or recruiter will ask you about it, and it will seem disingenuous that you left it out. If you have a track record of several short-term jobs, this will be a red flag to most employers, but everyone is permitted a career ‘blip’ or mistake. Don’t try to hide it—instead share with the interviewer what you learned from that experience, and what you’d do differently.